Assendelft Rules Football is, for all intents and purposes, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands' national sport.
Played between teams of thirteen the objective of the game is to score as many pogen (or attempts at goal) as possible. This is done by carrying the elongated ball over the end line. Scoring a pogen (worth 3 points) then allows a chance at a goal (worth 2 points) by kicking the ball from a point in line from where the pogen was scored into the goal. The goal is a box at both ends measuring 5x3 metres and is itself 3 metres above the ground. Failing to score a goal from this hands the other team a half-point. A goal may be attempted at any point during the normal play of the game and this is worth 5 points rather than 2. The ball may only be passed backwards to teammates but can be kicked forward to attempt to gain ground.
Although physical contact between players is expected as the teams attempt to steal the ball from each other, and indeed is pretty much constant, violence is frowned upon and rigorously policed. Each match is split into two halves of 40 minutes with extra time added on for stoppages. The pitch is generally around 100 metres by 70 metres.
HistoryThe history of Assendelft is confusing as historians are very much into two opposing groups as to how it evolved. The first group point to the Italian aristocratic sport of Calcio which various minor Luxembourgois nobles may have taken part in during the 1800s bringing it home to play amongst their peers which then spread to the private schools. The second point to an Anglian influence as Anglian or Frisian tutors were much in demand during the expansion of private education in the 18th and 19th centuries in Holland and it is possible that many tutors encouraged their students to play team games using rules they knew from their homelands. Certainly by the late 19th century most schools featured an Assendelft-style game. In 1931 one of the leading schools, Assendelft, would codify the competing rulebooks in order to allow the schools to compete against each other. While originally limited to inter-school competitions it soon found a home in the farming villages of Holland, the cities of Amsterdam and Utrecht and amongst bands of workers carving polders out of the Zuiderzee.
As it is inexpensive to play it quickly spread through the rest of the UKN, whilst being taken overseas to the colonies. Queen Charlotta is reputedly an avid fan of Assendelft and has attended several matches even when not officially invited to attend. She is known to support Kirchberg and Duinkerke.
Outside of the UKN Assendelft is played by several other European nations. It is popular in Auvergne, Burgundy and Munster-Westphalia who all have their own leagues. The Palatinate and other Rhineland states also play but the creation of a 'Rhineland' league has been mired in dispute since the mid-1990s.
The eight kingdoms of the UKN each hold their own Assendelft Leagues. The winners of the three European UKN leagues then meet in an nine match tournament (the Mulier Cup) which usually takes place in the last two weeks of May. Matches between the other kingdoms are more haphazard owing to the vast distances between them.
Current UKN League Champions
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